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Training Program

PDQ Flyers recognize four levels of flying skill:

  • Trainees, who are not allowed to fly solo at the Club field (with one exception described below);
  • Park Flyers, who are qualified to fly aircraft meeting the definition of Park Flyers below;
  • Unlimited flyers, members who have been certified under our "PDQ Wings" program; and
  • Instructors, members who are achieved a level of skill that qualifies them to teach others.

Park Flyer models are aircraft that weigh under two pounds, have less than 48 inch wingspan, fly relatively slowly, and are electric powered.

Park Flyers

Achieving the Park Flyer designation is done through certification by a club Instructor.  You must demonstrate that you can fly your model safely, take off and land, keep out from the flight line, and in general have control of your model at all times.  If you believe that you have the flying skills to do these things, contact the New Member Director who will arrange for an instructor to conduct a test.

If you need assistance prior to such a test or you are unable to demonstrate the requisite control during the examination, you will have to arrange time through the New Member Director for a club Instructor to provide buddy box training.

When you have exhibited the flying skills described above to the Instructor's satisfaction you will receive the Park Flyer designation on your Membership Card indicating that you are qualified to fly models that meet the park flyers description.  These are the ONLY models that you may fly without the assistance of an Instructor.

While the Club does not encourage it, if you are a current PDQ member and there are no other flyers or spectators present, you may fly Park Flyers at the club field prior to achieving your Park Flyer status.  If you wish to fly when others are present you must attain that status. 

If, or when, you are proficient and wish to upgrade to a larger electric, glow, or gas powered model, you must then pass the PDQ Flight Test to obtain your PDQ Wings designation or request training that will allow you to do so.

PDQ Wings

To fly any aircraft larger than Park Flyers, you will need to have a membership card indicating that you are certified with your PDQ Wings designation. 

For new Members to PDQ Flyers who are coming to us from another Club and are already skilled flyers, a simple check flight with one or our instructors is sufficient to allow certification.  For new members who are also new to flying, the balance of this section is applicable.

Certification can take place at any time that a Club Instructor agrees that you are ready, which may or may not require preparatory training.  Contact one of the Instructors to make that determination and the Instructor will make arrangements for you to be tested if it is appropriate. 

When the two testing Instructors are satisfied that your flying skills meet the required criteria, you will receive a Membership Card indicating that you have attained your PDQ Wings and are qualified to fly any aircraft type at our field. 

The PDQ Wings certification is described on our PDQ Wings program.  If you have been accepted into a PDQ Wings training program, you should print this document and have it with you at each training session.

Training Considerations

We sometimes have more training needs than trainer time available, particularly at the beginning of the season.  For this reason, it is important that Trainees prepare for their training sessions as much as they can.  Club Instructors expect at least the following.

Computer Flight Simulators

There are many simulators on the market that are reasonably priced and which are extremely helpful in getting you familiar with transmitter actions and plane responses.  Time spent practicing in this artificial environment where no damage is ever done by crashing can reduce your at-the-field learning time significantly and therefore the time needed from an Instructor.

Equipment Preparation

A student is expected to arrive at the field for a training sesson on time and with his aircraft and field equipment, as close as possible, in ready to fly condition.  It is NOT ok to get your new ARF in a box on Thursday, throw in the servos and engine on Friday, and expect to arrive at the field on Saturday ready for flight training.

It is clear that a new flyer can only go so far when it comes to having his equipment totally prepared for flight.  However, the instructions for assembly must be totally understood and followed.  The aircraft must be properly balanced.  For glow engines, the instruction manual must be read, reread, and all instructions considered.  The engine must have at least two tanks of fuel run through it and the student must understand a little bit about engine adjustments.  (A perfect place to run the engine and minimize noise discomfort to others is behind the container at the flying field).  For both glow and electric, all batteries must be fully charged and tested.

Naturally, with a new student, the instructor will check the student's work and adjust or correct as necessary but the message here is that the trainer is a flight instructor, not a teacher of the basic fundamentals of model aviation.

NOTE: Flight stabilization technology can help you learn to fly and it is acceptable to use it during training sessions (with the agreement of the Instructor).  However, it must be turned OFF for any qualification tests.

Buddy Boxes

Prior to flight training the issue of the secondary training transmitter, commonly called the buddy box must be addressed.  Both the student's and Instructor's transmitters must be compatable and as there are now many different technologies available, this can present an issue.  PDQ Flyers is equipped handle Spektrum and Futaba 2.4GHz equipment only, so if you have not yet purchased your equipment, it would be wise to contact the New Member Director to discuss options.  If your equipment is not compatable with the Club's, it will be necessary to work out alternate arrangements.

MAAC Guidance

The MAAC website has training materials that might be consdered: MAAC Learn to Fly 


Our Club is blessed with a number of highly skilled pilots and some of them have agreed to donate some of their time training others.  There is no formal certification for Instructors, instead they are designated by the existing Instructors through their personal interactions with our members. 

You can make arrangement with one of the Instructors for certification or training, or if you are a new member, you can talk to the New Member Director to do that.


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